Resumes are a vital and applicable way to get all students involved in their career pathway planning process throughout middle and high school. Resumes ultimately benefit the career and college application process, but they are also great tools to help students understand the value of extracurriculars, work experience, and awards.

Resume instruction can occur in various settings, including core subject classes, advisory periods, after-school sessions, or one-on-one. It is important for adult facilitators to provide context and prompts for their students as they undergo this process. Students should come out of this process with both the tools for success and an understanding of the importance of each component of their resume.

Here are four ways counselors, teachers, and other supportive adults can help students build and maintain effective resumes:

1. Start Early by introducing students to resume builder tools in early middle or high school. The resume process should not be a culminating event; it should be a years-long process. Getting students to participate in resume workshops early on in their school careers gives them an opportunity to utilize resume tools as a storage unit for all of the activities and awards they have undergone. Instead of looking back during their senior year and trying to remember activities, students can build on their comprehensive list each year, month, or week as they undergo each activity.

2. Help students Understand the Value of not only the resume itself but also the content within. By understanding the fields available on a resume and seeing spaces to add to, they can aspire to get involved in school activities or relevant work experiences. Resume development can also incentivize students to pursue new achievements in academics, athletics, the arts, and other areas of interest. Students can also better appreciate the value of their resume if they understand its eventual use. They will be more likely to continue to use their resume builder tool if they know that their resume can be used for future job applications, college and certificate applications, and throughout the scholarship application process. Help them to understand that a resume is a lifelong document that they will utilize throughout their entire career.

3. Ask Leading Questions to help students understand the components of resumes. Students’ resumes will look different depending on their interests, priorities, and academic ability. Every resume is to be celebrated, and every student has something to contribute. When in a classroom or working one-on-one with a student, ask the following leading questions:

4. Celebrate Outcomes appropriate to each milestone. The creation of a resume is a big step in a student’s life. Early on, ask them to share with their parents, guardians, or caregivers. The positive reinforcement and input that they can give are invaluable. As students reach the end of their high school career, host a resume fair where they can share and receive feedback on their resume with local workforce leaders, college admission counselors, and teachers. Use the opportunity to help students celebrate their accomplishments and recognize the valuable tools they have created through their time in your district.

By turning resume writing into a revisited process, your entire school can focus on starting, maintaining, and refining student resumes for all ages. To learn more about Kuder Navigator’s Resume Builder and how to encourage increased usage of this feature among your students, contact us today.

About the Author

Kim Oppelt, Ed.D is the Vice President of Career Readiness and Development at Kuder. Dr. Oppelt has over 20 years of experience in career and college readiness, both as a licensed school counselor and in educational technology. Throughout her career, Dr. Oppelt has worked with districts and state systems throughout the country to design and implement successful pathway planning processes, developed products and programming for K-12 students, and has conducted research on the experience of students as they develop their own career pathways. Dr. Oppelt has a B.A.S. in Health Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth, a M.S. in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and a Doctor of Education from St. Mary’s University.